Why earn an online bachelor’s in psychology?
When you enroll in an online bachelor’s in psychology, you get to organize your studies around your busy professional and personal schedule. Meaning, you deepen your understanding of why and how people think and behave — and you prepare to advance your career in psychology or a related field, such as counseling, healthcare, or business. You can achieve all of this without having to put your whole life on pause.
Accredited BA in psychology programs New
Admission requirements for a bachelor of arts in psychology
Requirements and prerequisites for an online BA in psychology vary by university and program. In general, however, most programs require:
High school transcripts that indicate completion of academic prerequisites, such as a minimum number of credits in math, science, or English
A résumé or CV
Letters of recommendation
A personal statement
A minimum GPA score
Be sure to clarify the specific requirements for any bachelor of arts in psychology program in which you are interested. Request information from universities or take the time to explore their admissions requirements.
Online bachelor’s degree in psychology curriculum
A bachelor’s degree in psychology curriculum will vary depending on the school and program. Typically, though, a BA in psychology curriculum will consist of foundational courses that cover social and behavioral sciences, math and statistics, and research methods. After the first few semesters, the curriculum usually turns its main focus to specialized areas that pertain to a learner’s interests by offering relevant elective courses. A psychology degree curriculum may consist of courses such as:
Introduction to psychological sciences
Introduction to statistics
Research methods in psychology
Organizational communication and behavior
Psychopathology and mental health
What can you do with a bachelor’s degree in psychology?
Work: Post graduation, you will be ready to immediately enter the workforce to pursue a wide variety of jobs with a BA in psychology. BA in psychology jobs are not restricted to social and human services, however. They also cover adjacent fields such as human resources, marketing, and law. Depending on your interests and experience, you may find fulfilling work in roles such as:
Behavioral disorder counselor
Child development specialist
Human resource advisor
Substance abuse counselor
Note that some of the jobs you may want to pursue with a bachelor’s in psychology may first require you to obtain a licensure.Footnote 1
Graduate studies: Once you’ve earned your BA in psychology, you will also be ready to pursue a master’s or doctoral degree. If your interests relate to clinical psychology and research, you will likely need to complete an advanced degree in psychology. Alternatively, you can also pursue an advanced degree in mental health if you would like to work in counseling, social work, applied behavior analysis, or in other licensed professions.
Be sure to explore available online bachelor’s degree programs that fit your unique career goals.
BA in psychology salary
You can explore a variety of careers with a bachelor’s in psychology. As in any other field with such diverse career outcomes, the salary of anyone with a BA in psychology will vary depending on their chosen field, geographic location, population served, employer, experience level, and on whether they hold graduate degrees, too. It also comes down to the type of professional role one holds or wants to hold.
The median annual wage for substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors in 2021, for instance, as reported by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, was $48,520.Footnote 2 Typically, graduates with a bachelor’s degree in psychology are qualified for these roles.
Advanced roles will, of course, increase earning potential: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for psychologists was $81,040 in 2021.Footnote 3 To practice as a psychologist, you will need to pursue a master’s degree and licensure.
Psychologists can practice independently, or serve on a healthcare team in a government, hospital, private or public clinic, or school setting. Here are some of the median annual wages for professionals with psychology degrees and credentials in different industries:Footnote 3
Hospital (state, local, and private): $99,330
Ambulatory healthcare services: $83,770
Elementary and secondary schools: $78,830
The highest 10% of psychology professionals earned more than $133,980 in 2021.Footnote 3
What’s the difference between a BA in psychology and a BS in psychology?
When comparing a BA vs BS in psychology, it is important to keep your own professional goals in mind. The two degrees offer a similar level of rigor, and both qualify you for entrance into advanced degree programs in psychology.
Both degrees also provide a strong foundation for careers in psychology; however, a bachelor of arts in psychology and a bachelor of science in psychology emphasize different elements of the field.
A BA in psychology is a more general degree, with a wider range of elective opportunities and an emphasis on the humanities and social sciences. With this degree, many graduates immediately enter the workforce, often in fields adjacent to psychology such as law, political science, or counseling. Graduates may also pursue an advanced degree and licensure in a range of fields including psychology, social work, and counseling.
Conversely, a BS in psychology concentrates on research, analytics, and science. BS in psychology candidates need to also take additional math and science courses that prepare them to enter the workforce, or to pursue advanced degrees or research opportunities closely related to psychology.
Frequently asked questions
This undergraduate degree prepares learners for professional careers related to psychology, through the lens of the humanities and social sciences. It can be the first step toward a career as a psychologist, or toward a career in industries adjacent to psychology such as social or human services.
A bachelor’s degree in psychology generally takes four years to complete. However, your chosen schedule and any transfer credits may change your timeline. Research your preferred university’s BA in psychology program to determine when you would graduate.
A bachelor’s in psychology can be the first step to becoming a therapist. To be qualified to provide therapy, you will first need to pursue an advanced degree such as a master’s degree in psychology or a related field, complete a certain number of supervised clinical hours, and pass licensure exams. There are, however, some counseling roles that only require a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, such as substance abuse counseling or behavioral disorder counseling.
Deciding where to pursue your online bachelor’s in psychology degree requires you to consider a variety of factors. In addition to researching school prestige and accreditation, make sure to look at graduation rates, career outcomes, and the strength of a program’s alumni network — all three of which can also demonstrate the quality of an online bachelor’s degree in psychology.
Some universities do offer combined degree programs that allow learners to complete degree requirements for a bachelor’s and master’s degree concurrently. Each program has its own nuances, though, so make sure to research your preferred university’s academic options.